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New Grant for Grassland Bird Habitat
We are very pleased to announce that we have received a grant of $12,000 from the Dupage Foundation to support a new project for the restoration of habitat along Eola Rd. for grassland birds.
Penny Kasper and Liz Copeland receiving the check from Dianne Engram of the Dupage Foundation
Research has shown that the presence of trees and woody vegetation in grasslands can significantly reduce the usable area for grassland birds. In the Eola grasslands at Fermilab, the first step is to clear open fields of woody vegetation and trees in order to maximize usable habitat.
This grant will support the first phase of the project by allowing FNA to hire a contractor to remove trees from this area. The contractor will have the necessary heavy equipment and tools required for the job. After the trees are removed, various strategies for mowing and managing the grassland will be tested largely supported by the Fermilab Roads and Grounds department. Using past studies on grassland bird populations already completed, new studies will be initiated and completed to measure the impact of the restoration efforts on grassland bird populations.
In the past, FNA has focused its restoration efforts on a combination of tall grass prairies, oak savanna, and woodlands. However, tallgrass prairies and woodlands are not suitable habitats for several species of grassland birds. Grassland birds are of particular concern because they have exhibited steeper and more consistent declines in the past several decades than any other group of North American birds. For example, the Upland Sandpiper which is endangered in Illinois, has formerly nested at Fermilab and is sensitive to the size of available habitat; preferring large, open areas of short stature grasses. Other examples such as Henslow’s sparrow and Bobolink are Chicago Wilderness priority species which also prefer shorter grasses for breeding.
Recent bird sightings at Fermilab.
The Fermilab Natural Areas organization, formed in 2006, is a not for profit, all volunteer network dedicated to restoring, managing and enhancing the natural areas and resources of Fermilab in order to maintain and improve their ecological health and biodiversity. We do not receive funding from Fermilab or the federal government and depend on membership, donations and grants to fund our operations. Throughout the year, we conduct work events where volunteers come together to participate in organized restoration projects. We welcome all volunteers, donations and memberships to FNA.
We aim to conserve, restore and study the natural areas within Fermilab while encouraging employees and neighbors to experience and enjoy Fermilab’s natural beauty.
Our vision is to see that Fermilab’s natural areas and ecosystems are rich in biodiversity, that conservation and restoration are sustainable activities, that Fermilab is a regional leader in natural areas research and that the people of the surrounding communities consider the enjoyment of our open spaces to be a valuable contributor to a high quality of life.